Getting children to sleep on Christmas Eve is not easy with excitement levels at fever pitch.
December 24 is one of the most challenging nights of the year for ensuring kids nod off – particularly younger ones eager to see what Santa might bring them.
So here are five tips for ensuring they get some shut-eye after hanging up their stockings – and you can ensure Father Christmas is able to fill them without being spotted!
Online retailer Play Like Mum gave us this advice on tried and tested techniques for getting children to sleep on Christmas Eve.
1. Tire them out
Wake your kids up early on Christmas Eve and fill the day with loads of festive activity so your kids are able to burn off energy. You could rope them in to help you out with food preparation, get them to tidy their room, enlist them to make Christmas cards to distribute to elderly neighbours, carers or NHS staff in your neighbourhood as a gesture of festive goodwill, partake in holiday activities such as going on a walk to see the lights in the evening or simply go on a long nature walk as a family.
2 . Cut out sweets
Though Christmas is the time for going all out with treats, an excess of sugar can negatively impact sleep. Consciously limit the number of sweet treats your child can have on Christmas Eve and set a cut-off time beyond which they are no longer welcome to indulge so as to reduce the chance of an unwanted sugar rush before bedtime. If you will be having visitors, ensure they are kept informed of this and the reasoning behind it to avoid losing progress.
3. Tell them Santa won’t come if they’re awake
Make sure they know that Santa won’t appear until everyone is fast asleep. This will build excitement for going to bed rather than staying awake. You could be creative and incorporate this information into a bedtime story – start two to three nights before Christmas Eve and keep it up every night until Christmas Eve so kids lose the urge to bargain about it.
4. Provide bedtime drinks
Milk and cherry juice are naturally high in melatonin and tryptophan – compounds that promote sleep. A sugar free glass of either before bed could be the solution for kids struggling to sleep.
5 – Put them to bed slightly earlier
It’s only natural for kids to be excited for their presents on Christmas morning so it’s not unusual that they may find it hard to sleep. Have earlier dinners and baths and get them into bed an hour to 30 minutes earlier than their usual time to allow them adequate time to unwind. Consider turning this into a game of who-can-fall-asleep-the-fastest.
One in three kids struggle to sleep
Play Like Mum founder Andrew Coplestone told us: “Studies show that one in three kids struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve and how can you blame the little ones when adults themselves struggle to sleep the night before an important event?
“Make sure you acknowledge their excitement and validate their thoughts and feelings to avoid any tantrums.
“A good night’s sleep on Christmas Eve goes a long way to set the whole family up for a relaxed Christmas day.”